Adding a light, cannot figure out circuit

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  #1  
Old 08-01-13, 04:15 PM
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Cool Adding a light, cannot figure out circuit

I originally had a light switch that went to an outlet. But I wanted an overhead light as well, so I ran wire from the switch through the wall, into the attic and to the light.

Now, I have done this in 2 other rooms and it worked just fine. But I'm looking at the wiring in the outlet and I'm not sure how to make it work. I have attached 2 images, one of the switch and one of the outlet.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 08-01-13, 04:21 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

That two wire cable that goes from the receptacle to the switch is a switch leg. It just opens the black hot leg on the receptacle. Since there is no neutral at the switch you cannot tap a light in at that point.

You could convert the receptacle(s) to always live and then change that from a switch leg to an actual feed. Then you would have hot and neutral at the switch.
 
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Old 08-01-13, 06:46 PM
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Thank you for the reply, PJmax.

So if I understand correctly, the only way to make it work would be if the outlet (receptacle, right?) was always on, but the light would be able to be turned on/off? That would work just great. How exactly do I do it?
 
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Old 08-01-13, 09:11 PM
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So if I understand correctly, the only way to make it work would be if the outlet (receptacle, right?) was always on, but the light would be able to be turned on/off? That would work just great. How exactly do I do it?
Without being able to see the hot side of the receptacle it's not certain, but it appears that the switch controls one of the two receptacles and the other one is always hot. If so, the brass tab connecting the two screw terminals will have been broken off on the hot side - the one with brass screws and the shorter plug slot.

If so, you need to buy a new duplex receptacle. Remove the existing duplex receptacle and splice all of the white wires together. Add a 6" - 8" white pigtail the same gauge as the wire that's already there to the splice and terminate that to one of the silver screw terminals on the new duplex receptacle. Do the same with the black wires, a black pigtail and a brass screw terminal.

In the switch box, splice the two white wires together and terminate the two black wires to the switch.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 08-02-13 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 08-03-13, 12:43 PM
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Thank you so much, Nashkat1! You were absolutely right about the hot side of the receptacle. I did everything you said, and the light now works! But...

It won't turn off, it's always on. I am fine with having the receptacle always on, but not the light. I tried it with 2 different switches - one that was a 3-way (I don't know if that matters) that I broke off the tab. With that one the light didn't work at all. Then I tried with a 2-way switch with the tab still on, and the light works, but won't turn off.

What do I do?
 
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Old 08-03-13, 01:22 PM
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In the switch box, splice the two white wires together and terminate the two black wires to the switch.
In the switch junction box you need to wire nut the two white wires together. That leaves you with a hot black wire and a black wire going to your new light. If you keep those two black wires open then the light cannot work. If you put each wire on its own screw terminal then the switch will work properly.

I'm not sure what you are refering to when you say "tab" on a single pole switch. There should be three terminals. Two for the black wires and one for the ground wire.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 01:49 PM
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Sorry, PJmax. By "tab", I mean the little piece of brass that you can break off to make the switches independent (between the 2 black screws).

I must be missing something, because the hot black wire is on the bottom black screw, and the one going to the light is on the top black screw. The 2 whites wires in the switch box are together. The light is on, but the switch won't turn it off.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 02:20 PM
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I'm a little lost. You created a new switch location for one ceiling light. Why are you using a double switch. Don't you have a regular single pole switch.

If you disconnect the two black wires from the "switch" does the light go off ?
 
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Old 08-03-13, 03:15 PM
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Issue resolved thanks to you guys!! I never would have figured that out on my own.

I put on the single pole switch and it works perfectly. It makes sense to just have the one, as the outlet will always be on. I had just used double switches before.

Thanks again, guys! I was going a little nuts LOL. If you ever need help with writing code, let me know.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 03:33 PM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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